When you start selling your products on Etsy, you’ll soon discover that the marketplace is much more than just another eCommerce site. If you want to grow in this space, it’s essential to be aware of all the strategies you can explore and use to your advantage.
One commonly neglected opportunity that Etsy provides is the ability for buyers and sellers to donate to non-profit organizations via the platform. Although this may not sound like a big contributing factor to your performance, it actually is.
Keep reading to find out more about Etsy’s donation policies and how your Etsy shop can benefit from them.
News about Etsy and Airbnb’s donations to Ukraine have recently gone viral. But does Etsy allow buyers and sellers to donate freely, or is the platform itself the donor? What are the rules that govern these transactions?
Here are the answers.
One of the options that Etsy provides for buyers interested in supporting creative entrepreneurs and giving back to the community is donations via the Uplift Fund.
The initiative was launched on Etsy in 2021 and allows shoppers to round up their orders to make donations. The initiative is currently available in the US and applies to shoppers making purchases from sellers with Etsy Payments. The buyer can round up the order total to the nearest dollar. The difference between the actual cost of the product and the order total will be donated to Etsy’s Uplift Fund.
This doesn’t lead to any changes for the Etsy shop itself. As a seller, you’ll see the buyer’s order total (without the donation) in your payment account, and any applicable seller fees based on your listing price will still be deducted.
The Uplift Fund is specifically designed to support nonprofits that work towards helping people from lacking economies, and with no access to digital education or training, make their first steps in entrepreneurship. It is a creation of the Brooklyn Community Foundation, a 501(c)(3) that helps nonprofits in the USA eliminate barriers and create equal opportunities for creative entrepreneurship.
Another option to support non-profit organizations is by selling digital products. When listing digital products for sale on Etsy, the seller is not required to send any physical goods or engage in any type of delivery, Instead, the buyer is sent a digital file or digital asset. This option has been widely used by people interested in supporting Ukraine. This has mainly been done by purchasing digital products from Ukrainian sellers.
However, if you do decide to explore this option in partnership with a non-profit or charity organization, it’s essential to contact Etsy to receive accurate and up-to-date information about their policies. There are certain guidelines that all sellers interested in making donations via their Etsy shops should be aware of in order to stay on the right side of the law.
We’ll look at these in the next section.
There’s also the option of enabling users to buy a product and have it sent directly to a charity organization. In this case, the seller must abide by the following guidelines:
But before you can even start connecting your Etsy shop to charity organizations and donations, it’s vital to consider the following house rules outlined by Etsy.
Note that these apply to sellers who are looking to fundraise for a tax-deductible charity organization:
Donations won’t have any direct influence on your profits. In fact, they won’t make any difference to your payments account. However, they could potentially improve your brand image and expose you to a bigger audience. Why? Because the fact that you’ve gone out of your way to make donating via your Etsy shop possible means that you’re truly concerned about certain causes.
This is well-perceived by shoppers and a sign that you’re a legitimate seller who is interested in giving back.
From a competitive point of view, donating certainly puts you ahead of the pack. It’s one more way to differentiate yourself from the rest and be more active in the community.
We recommend these practices only to sellers with at least some level of experience on the platform.
If you’re looking to quickly get your sales running and profits coming your way, perhaps donations are not the first thing that should be on your mind.
However, as you become more comfortable in the marketplace and more aware of the options at your disposal, you can certainly think about this opportunity.
You may be wondering why a customer would prefer an Etsy seller who actively supports non-profit organizations through their shop. Well, for one, research suggests that helping others triggers positive emotions, creates a sense of belonging and can even strengthen relationships with others. Naturally, it’s an effect we desire.
But the more materialistic explanation is that buyers who make purchases that qualify as tax-exempt could be refunded the sales tax on their purchase. Such purchases are for certified non-profit organizations. If a buyer is interested in collecting back their sales tax, they must reach out to Etsy’s Contact support and provide the number for the order, along with the tax exemption form. Depending on the state that the buyer is based in, they may have the option of receiving a credit for paid sales tax.
Donating on Etsy is a possibility that many sellers and buyers take advantage of. It’s a wonderful way to contribute to society, help those in need and support people with fewer options and opportunities.
It’s also a strategic option that intermediate and advanced Etsy sellers can benefit from to grow their popularity while giving back to the community.